Thermal Structures Lab
|Center:||Langley Research Center|
|Historic Eligibility:||National Register Eligible|
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This complex, composed of buildings 1267, 1267A, and 1267B, was built 1960. It was comprised of 4 arc-powered apparatus producing high-temperature environments and high-velocity flow to evaluate the performance of thermal protection systems for all types of reentry vehicles. The Arc Powered 5-Megawatt and 10-Megawatt Wind Tunnels supported material testing for thermal protection of materials and systems for reentry heating. The test sections of both tunnels were equipped with retractable stings on which either models or diagnostic instrumentation could be mounted for testing. It was not uncommon in the mid-60s to run 2-6 tests per day.
Several portions of the complex were transferred from other locations. The 60-inch spheres were donated from the Naval Air Station in North Carolina (1969). The autoclave was moved from building 1232 (1963) and the subsonic arc tunnel from building 1148 (1964).
By January 1987, the character of research being conducted at the facility had changed and the complex name changed from the High Temperature Materials Laboratory to the Thermal Structure Laboratory. During this year, two sections of a 1 megawatt arc tunnel test chamber were removed to make room for the new high temperature structures lab. The chamber was nearly 12 feet long and cylindrical in shape, with observation windows on either side. Made of carbon steel, the chamber weighed about 5,000 pounds. The test sections were transferred to White Sands Test Facility. The remainder of that tunnel apparatus was left to be used in conjunction with the other test apparatus. The steam ejector outside the building was capped and not removed until 2010.
For additional descriptions of capabilities in this facility, refer to the various resumes in the documents section below.
Demolition of Spheres and Related Equipment in 2012